Writing Fiction Tips For May 2015

From time to time we may share links to writing tips we’ve found on the web to help us improve our writing. The majority of these are focused on fiction because our workshop motto is everything we write is fiction, whether or not it is. 😀

Five Essential Tips for Anyone Trying to Write A Book – Forbes: Brett Arends offers excellent tips that may seem simple but are really the things that get in our way and hold us back. These include practice writing, finding a writing space and time, planning your book, and so on. He also highlights how a writing group helped him, which is what we are here for! Come join us.

Writing tips by Paul Coelho: Hard to argue with a master and award-winning author. A favorite:

I write the book that wants to be written. Behind the first sentence is a threat that takes you to the last.

10 Writing Tips from Legendary Writing Teacher William Zinsser, May He Rest in Peace – Open Culture: The world of writing is a little smaller with the recent loss of William Zinsser, author of On Writing Well, a staple of how to write since 1976. The article paying tribute to him selects some of the best writing tips he’s offered.

“A clear sentence is no accident. Very few sentences come out right the first time, or even the third time. Remember this in moments of despair. If you find that writing is hard, it’s because it is hard.”

12 Writing Tips I’ve Learned After 20 Books and 3,000 Articles Over 20 Years – Inc.com: Inc’s Andrew Griffiths offers us some great tips that are not just about writing from a writer’s perspective, which they are, but also from an avid book reader. There is something to be said about good advice from those who love books such as:

I had the great pleasure of seeing Seth Godin in Sydney recently and he said something that really resonated with me: “If you are just writing to get ‘shares’ or ‘likes,’ you are writing too safe and too conservatively. If we really want to connect and engage our community, we have to be prepared to write content that is not popular, but it needs to be written.”

20 Writing Tips from Fiction Authors – iUniverse: This is a collection of quotes from modern writers, for the most part, on writing. There are some great ones in this collection including:

“The nearest I have to a rule is a Post-it on the wall in front of my desk saying ‘Faire et se taire’ (Flaubert), which I translate for myself as ‘Shut up and get on with it.’”
Helen Simpson

Writing tips from the CIA’s ruthless style manual – Quartz: Finding out that Struck and White were CIA sources – well, their writing styles were sourced by the US government in their style guide for writing “Intelligence Publications” – was fascinating, but the tips and advice in this collection of their tips celebrates their “crisp and pungent” language “devoid of jargon,” something that I’m not sure the US Government, or any government, practices much any more. Still a good set of tips for the rest of us to practice.

5 Writing Tips: Jane Smiley – Publishers Weekly: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Jane Smiley shared a few fantastic tips including:

Exhaust your own curiosity about your project before showing it to someone else. Let your own ideas play out without getting input from others, then, after you show them your work, use their responses as input to push you forward. It may take you several drafts and a long time to come to the end of your ability to tackle a given subject, and when you do, you might be satisfied or dissatisfied with your product. If you are dissatisfied, the input of others will give you ideas for how to shape your novel further. If you are satisfied, the input of others will let you know if your novel is readable and accessible.


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